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Military veteran and Empire Files producer Mike Prysner says the final presidential debate affirmed movements have critical work ahead regardless of who wins the White House

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JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Jaisal Noor in Baltimore. On Wednesday, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton squared off in the third and final presidential debate in Las Vegas, moderated by Fox’s Chris Wallace. In one of the most eye opening moments, republican nominee Trump did not say whether or not he would concede if he were to lose the November 8th election. Here’s that clip. CHRIS WALLACE: You’re running mate Governor Pence pledged on Sunday that he and you his words will absolutely accept the result of this election. Today your daughter Ivanka said the same thing. I want to ask you here on the stage tonight, do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely accept the result of this election. DONALD TRUMP: I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I’ll look at it at the time. What I’ve seen is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt and the pile on is so amazing that the New York Times actually wrote an article about it but they don’t even care. It’s so dishonest and they’ve poisoned the minds of the voters. But unfortunately for them, I think the voters are seeing through it. WALLACE: Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle? TRUMP: What I’m saying is I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. NOOR: Issues not mentioned in the debate include the topic of climate change, Dakota Access Pipeline or ending mass incarceration. Well now joining us to discuss this is Mike Prysner. He’s an Iraq war veteran and co-founder of March Forward!, an organization of veterans and active-duty members of the US military fighting to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also the producer of The Empire Files with Abby Martin. Thanks so much for joining us again Mike. So Mike as we just heard, Trump refused to say if he would accept the results of the election. Clinton replied, you’re not up to doing that job adding that by not conceding, Trump would be denigrating US democracy. What’s your response to that? We know that you’ve been critical of both political parties in previous interviews but doesn’t this sort of set Trump apart in this election historically as well? MIKE PRYSNER: Yea well first of all his kind of inciting his supporters to go to polling places to make sure no funny business is happening as he said, that’s actually an extremely dangerous and worrisome thing that’s reminiscent to the days of Klan terror when they were trying to suppress black people from voting then. So I think that’s a very serious threat that needs to be paid attention to and when Trump and his surrogates are repeating this thing about voter fraud and double voting and things like that they actually are talking about a real voter suppression project. One that’s being carried out by the republican party to purge hundreds of thousands of people, possibly millions of people from the roles, using a completely faulty system. Those people mostly African American and democratic party voters. So there really is a serious voter fraud or voter suppression act taking place but it is being done by the republican party. That being said, I think that the immediate focus on this point, I was watching MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, all of them. The big story they are running with right at the conclusion of the debate was this idea that Trump might not recognize the results of the election. But the reason that they are so completely focused on that point is not because he’s really wrong that the elections in the United States are rigged in a lot of ways, unfair in a lot of ways. The reason that everyone united against him was because the elections themselves are just supposed to be as every media outlet has said, the peaceful transfer of power. The peaceful transfer of power from one representative of the rich and elite to another representative of the rich and the elite. The job of the president is to manage these common affairs and common interests of this sector that sits at the very top of society. So for Trump to be calling that into question was a major offense to the elites of the society who want the election to go down very without any issue and so people keep accepting it as a legitimate process when in reality it’s really not. NOOR: That’s part of Trump’s appeal. He’s representing himself as an outsider not tainted by this corrupt political system and so he continued to point to the releases done by WikiLeaks. So it seems like for the people that can’t distinguish him from that same – we know the media has done, they’ve given him tons of media coverage but for most of that time it wasn’t critical so many voters are not educated about his links to the same system and you know the fact that he represents those same interests. So that’s where it seems like a lot of his support is coming from. People that feel in many cases, rightfully disenfranchised. PRYSNER: Absolutely, and of course the media helped create this monster. Propping him up as some kind of legitimate person and not the disgusting pig that we know he has been sense for decades. Of course they play a big role in it but I think what’s happened is all the sectors of the establishment from the military to finance, all the major centers of power in the United States have turned against Trump because they want someone who’s going to work for all of them and Trump very obviously is just in it for himself like the selfish billionaire that he is. NOOR: And so we’ve discussed how previously, the issue of climate change has not been raised. Donald Trump through the primaries and to this point has not been asked a direct question about this and we already knew that wasn’t one of the topics but Hillary Clinton also failed to mention this. It comes at a time when she needs support of younger voters and this is a main issue for them. It also comes at a time of WikiLeaks release where she sort of brushed aside concerns from the issue of fracking. Did she miss a big opportunity here? PRYSNER: Well she missed an opportunity to appeal to the support of the Bernie Sanders and to appeal to the many, many millions and millions of people who know that the situation with the environment and climate change is the greatest threat that’s ever faced us as a species and can really call into question our ability to exist on the planet in our lifetimes. This is an – can’t really overstate how serious of a thing this is. But she, there was an intentional thing that she didn’t mention it. We know Donald Trump of course would be catastrophic for the environment. He wants to get rid of every single mild regulation that there is that to pollute as they please. But Hillary Clinton very deliberately did not say anything real about climate change and that’s because she is still representing the interests of the world’s biggest polluters. We know from these Podesta emails, from WikiLeaks, we know that she was secretly supporting the things that she’s trying in some circles to say that she’s against. Fracking, all types of environmental activism. So she’s still representing interests, the interests of the big polluters. So it wasn’t an accident or a mistake that she didn’t mention it in the debate. It was a deliberate thing to let her sponsors know that she’s still on their side. NOOR: The United States is the most incarcerated country on the planet. But that issue of racial justice was not raised in this debate. The final presidential debate, less than 3 weeks with the election to go. PRYSNER: Yea I mean, we’re in a political situation in this country that hasn’t been seen in decades. Millions and millions of people are in political motion. People from the most depressed communities in the United States are risking everything to be in political motion, to be in the streets. You’re seeing in city after city after city, mass protests, mass uprisings, that are challenging the core institutions of power. So you would think that something that serious would be a top of discussion in US politics. But of course it’s not. They know it’s ultimately a problem that they cannot resolve because it’s linked to the very structures of the society that they’re ruling so of course they’re not going to talk about it. But I think the encouraging thing is with these issues, the issues of mass incarceration and issues of police brutality, 2 unprecedented epidemics in our society. It doesn’t matter that Hillary and Trump aren’t talking about them because something has started that’s not going to stop until victories are won and that’s a grand swell at the grassroots from the people. Whether or not Trump and Clinton want to address it when they need to address it, that’s a force that’s not going to be stopped by just them ignoring it in the debates or in their campaigns. NOOR: And Mike, the moderator Chris Wallace actually asked a sharp and direct question to Hillary Clinton, an issue that you raised in our previous interview which his if you support a no fly zone in Syria and he brought up the reasons that President Obama and the Joint Chiefs of Staff doesn’t support it because as you’ve raised that requires basically going to war because there’s Russian anti-installations in Syria and creating a no fly zone is going to require the destruction of those. And so that’s going to push us dangerously close to a much greater conflict and Hillary Clinton, she defended those comments invoking the images of those Syrian civilians that are dying in mass in Syria. She doubled down on the no fly zone. PRYSNER: Yea just to reiterate, a no fly zone means as its first act, bombing massive amounts of Syria military instillations and all of their anti-aircraft capabilities. That’s launching a war against the Syrian government of which millions of millions of Syrians support which is a violations of international law and is a war crime. Beyond that Hillary Clinton in her emails that were leaked, acknowledges and from the speeches that she gave to big banks, acknowledged that despite what she says on the debate stage, that a no fly zone will number 1 kill a lot of Syrian civilians and number 2, require US forces on the ground much more than she’s been talking about on the debate stage of limited special operations forces. Beyond that everyone in her inner circles, everyone in the military establishment acknowledges that the third thing that this will do is very likely provoke a war with Russia which is a nuclear power and a war with Iran. So I mean these are the types of things that start World Wars. The belligerence from the imperial arrogance of these people who get to control the biggest military in US history and act with such reckless belligerence just to get these kind of short returns are that they can throw the world into a massive catastrophic war. That’s the potential for Syria. Hillary Clinton has said she want to make a regime change and bombing Syria, her number one priority in office. If we look at her track record from not only being for the Iraq War but fighting to make other democrats for the Iraq War, taking the lead out on Libya which was a complete catastrophe for the people of Libya and we see it now. Everything that she has touched has blown up in disaster. But she hasn’t been able to touch something this serious yet. So I think regardless of Trump winning or Hillary winning, the danger of a new phase of war for the United States is very real and we need to be prepared for that on day one. NOOR: Alright Mike Prysner. Thanks so much for joining us for continuing this discussion about the presidential election. We appreciate it. PRYSNER: Thank you. NOOR: Thank you for joining us at the Real News Network.


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Mike Prysner is an Iraq war veteran. He is also the producer of The Empire Files with Abby Martin.